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Bold prediction of the week: the Wildcats will get a #1 seed.
Record-wise, the Orange have kept pace with the Wildcats. They’ve navigated a tough schedule and have a number of ways to beat you. With that said, a number of their games are very close. It’s good that they are able to close teams out late, but an inability to close them out earlier will leave them vulnerable in March.
With Baylor sputtering to the end of conference play, this week’s game between the Tigers and #4 Jayhawks should determine the Big 12 regular season winner. With the Tigers’ loss to Kansas State, it could be their best chance to jump back into the top line and stay in the running for a #1 seed.
Despite a surprisingly small amount of attention this season, the Jayhawks seem poised to once again be a #1 seed. I look forward to them getting upset in the second round.
I saw Duke play in person on Sunday, and my goodness are they impressive. They were completely unfazed by BC’s attack, and confidently wore the Eagles down. This is nothing new for a Mike Krzyzewski team. What is new is their attitude. Instead of the cold and calculating aura Coach K normally imbues his team with, they have some real swagger.
This starts with Austin Rivers, who is more petulant than I ever could have imagined. He constantly wants the ball, and makes sure everyone in the arena knows it. When something goes wrong, he has no problem bitching a teammate out in front of everyone. He also scowls constantly. Miles Plumlee is the other main proponent of this attitude. He constantly complains to officials and has a habit of going for highlight-reel dunks instead of taking intelligent looks.
6. Michigan State
7. North Carolina
8. Ohio State
Michigan State is never an exciting preseason pick, and they are rarely a threat to actually win a national championship. However, they always find a way to work their way up the rankings and go deep into the tournament.
14. Murray State
15. Florida State
It looks like I was wrong to dismiss Murray State so quickly. I still don’t expect them to make a deep run in March, but if they win out they definitely deserve a high seed and could easily win two games in the tournament.
18. New Mexico
19. Wichita State
20. Notre Dame
What a week for New Mexico! They had wins over #21 UNLV and #24 SDSU. Too bad they couldn’t keep it up this week, immediately losing to Colorado State.
24. San Diego State
Conversely, last week was terrible for San Diego State, with losses to #18 New Mexico and Air Force, knocking them down 11 spots. Also, I would like to give a warm welcome in the rankings to Temple, who have been toiling thanklessly in the A-10 (home of my alma mater!) all season.